In recent months, Tullow Oil has been making news that Kenyans will be cursing. Developments at the firm steering Kenya’s dream of becoming an oil producer, thanks to the resources buried deep in the bowels of Turkana County, are depressing. Among the issues the firm has had to grapple with are crises within its management and the move to sell its stake in the three oil blocks expected to produce commercial oil by 2023.
While such sales are expected and common place among firms developing oil fields across the world, it is coming at a time the ordinary Kenyan is on edge economically. Even worse, the people of Turkana have so far endured inconveniences as the company prepares the fields.
The project is at a critical stage, where slight differences among the partners might further delay implementation or worse, scuttle the entire plan. Unsettling too, is the response by the government. While the public might not be privy to talks that the government, specifically the John Munyes-led Ministry of Mining and Petroleum, has had with the oil companies, it appears that the state has let the companies operate in a laissez faire manner, and not really holding them to account.
At the moment, anyone with interest in the project notes the one-liners from the ministry in relation to the developments at Tullow Oil. This is despite always being in agreement about the need to share information regularly about the project so as to manage expectations.